By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
The Licking United Community Help Center recently received American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds of $100,000 to purchase an additional freezer and a storage shed for much needed food storage. These funds were approved by the Texas County Commission.
The freezer will be used for perishable food items, and of the size to accommodate whole pallets. It will be delivered and set up when the concrete flooring is in place. There are currently two freezers and one cooler but they are not sufficient for the food storage necessary.
The storage shed will be used for non-perishable food items until they are dispensed to clientele. Pending bidding must be completed and concrete flooring done before the storage shed is built; it will not be a prefabricated unit.
The additional storage will allow for more food to be ordered and kept.
Any funds remaining, if any, will be used to purchase additional food items.
“We’re seeing more elderly needing assistance; with inflation they just can’t make ends meet anymore,” shared Director Donetta James. “They don’t like to require help, and most have never asked for assistance before.”
“There has been a progressive monthly increase for some time of families needing assistance,” said James. She attributes that at least in part to the increasing cost of food and utilities.
“I keep volunteering because I want to keep the Community Center rolling; it’s my passion,” said James.
She also strongly urges those that can, to please volunteer. The center currently has only three or four consistent volunteers. As the need in the community escalates, the need for volunteers also escalates. Volunteers help organize clothing and other contributions for the thrift store, stock the pantry and help with food distribution.
The thrift store finances the operation, paying the utilities and purchasing the food supplies.
Generous donations from the community help finance the thrift store and the food bank, which provides food, clothing, other necessities and emergency provisions for families in need.
The Licking United Community Help Center is open Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Food distributions take place the third Friday of each month.